Park is open for day use from 7:30 AM to Sunset.
Wildwood Canyon Park Property
About Wildwood Canyon
Discover the California of Old...
Nestled in the hills above the suburbs of the Inland Empire, Wildwood Canyon offers panoramic views of the surrounding valleys in an unforgettable nature experience. This park property in the eastern foothills of the majestic San Bernardino Mountains features broad grasslands, canopies of centuries-old interior live oak, and threatened chaparral and sage scrub habitats. The property’s box canyon is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and native plants, some of them rare and endangered. The park also preserves the human history of the area in the form of past ranches and homesteads. Step back in time and come visit beautiful Wildwood Canyon State Park!
Looking for educational and engaging school field trips that make lasting memories? Bring your class to Wildwood Canyon State Park!
These School Tours are available by appointment Wednesdays through Fridays.
Download the School Tour Reservation Request Form Here: School Program Form
Download the School Bus Funding Request Form Here: School Bus Funding Form
Download the Onsite School Presentation Form Here: Onsite School Program Form
For more information regarding school group tours or volunteer opportunities please contact Kimberly Seltmann at the Lake Perris Museum office: (951) 940-5657.
Wildwood Canyon hosts diverse wildlife. Birds commonly seen include the California quail, western meadowlark, towhee, red-tailed hawk, Bewick’s wren, Bullock’s oriole and white-tailed kite.
Visitors may also see the deer mouse, cactus deer mouse, California vole and dusky-footed wood rat. Mule deer and desert cottontail share Wildwood Canyon with bobcats, black bears, gray foxes and skunks. Cougars use the canyon as a travel corridor. Reptiles found in the park include several types of lizards, the coastal western whiptail, western skink and California whipsnake. The red-diamond rattlesnake is a reptile species of special concern.
Check out some pictures here!
The dominant plant community is Riversidian sage scrub, with valley grasslands present in most open areas. Interior live oaks and sycamore woodlands grow along drainages and canyon bottoms. The oaks appear to be 150 to 250 years old; in some canyons the branches have interlaced so thickly that they form a welcome shade canopy. Dominant plants found among the chamise chaparral are scrub oak, California lilacs, sage varieties, buckwheat, monkey flower, Lord’s candle, and silk tassel bush.
The park’s Mediterranean climate is typical of inland southern California. Dry summers range from warm to very hot (over 100 degrees); winters are more temperate but wet. Spring and fall are mild and moderate. Average annual rainfall is 14 inches; the area may experience strong, dry Santa Ana winds, usually in late fall and early winter.
"...Wildwood Canyon preserves ancient oak woodlands, native sites, and pioneer homesteads."
Native People: The area near Yucaipa was known as a crossroads for traveling indigenous people. The Cahuilla were traditionally active in the area of Wildwood Canyon, as were the Serrano and Gabrieleno native people.
Early Pioneers: The first recorded landowner was mountain man James Waters, who started a hog ranch on the fringe of the current park property in the 1850s. The area was called “Hog Cañon” (the Spanish word for canyon) until the 1920s. Later settlers included rancher Louis Morris and the Brooks family, who staked mining claims in the area. The Wildwood Lodge resort was built in the 1920s; investors planned to sell more than 500 lots in a country-club development. Few lots were sold, and the property was foreclosed in 1928. Property tax defaults led to the sale of the development to Vernon Hunt, who bought up area ranches and the former Wildwood Lodge in 1940 to build Hunt Ranch. Hi Up House was owned by the McCullough family. During the Great Depression in 1932, Charles McCullough lost his Pasadena apple farm to foreclosure. He borrowed $500 to purchase 88 acres in Yucaipa and brought his family to live off the land—digging wells and water tunnels to irrigate their gardens and orchards, and raising rabbits and bees. The McCulloughs lived in a converted chicken coop for 13 years while they built a new home, using recycled and found materials. Some remnants of Hunt Ranch and the Hi Up House buildings are still on the property.
Preserving the Land: After a flood threatened developers’ plans to build subdivisions, California State Parks (supported by local conservationists) acquired Wildwood Canyon’s 900 acres. On May 9, 2003, a dedication ceremony was held at Wildwood Canyon.
Available Activities and Facilities at Wildwood Canyon Park Property
Nature & Wildlife Viewing